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Noise is high on the public agenda, more specifically for communities living close to airports. This is why we take it seriously, noise management is a key element covered in our Sustainable Development strategy.

Noise disturbance is generated by two main aviation activities - flight operations and ground operations. However, the industry has been working to reduce noise for decades and substantial progress has been made.

On average, aircraft are already 50% quieter today than they were 10 years ago, according to Boeing and Airbus. Research initiatives target a further 50% reduction by 2020. Similarly and due to better planning, the number of people exposed to aircraft noise worldwide has gone down - by about 35% between 1998 and 2004.

At Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, we follow the "Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management” recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The ICAO approach revolved around the following principles:

  • Reducing noise at source
  • Regulating land-use around airports
  • Adapting operational procedures
  • Implementing operating restrictions

More specifically, we focus our efforts on two areas: developing more efficient operating procedures and investing in new technology.


At Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, we are continuously working to improve our performance through better planning and by deploying the most suitable aircraft to certain routes at certain times where possible. For example, in 2010, we made arrangements to increase the use of quieter Boeing 777-300ER aircraft instead of the Boeing 747-400s on more of the Hong Kong to London flights to alleviate noise impacts around London Heathrow airport during landing and take-off.

In addition, our pilots adhere to any additional airport-specific noise abatement procedures (like noise abatement zones, engine run up restrictions and preferred runways or flight paths) that may be required. 


Manufacturers' new technologies - be it new aircraft or new equipment - have produced significant noise reductions.

As part of our fleet renewal programme, Cathay Pacific acquired quieter aircraft. For example, our new Airbus A350-900s are designed to reduce aircraft noise and are equipped with automatic Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADP) which optimize flight path to mitigate noise over densely populated areas.

All Cathay Pacific aircraft meet or exceed ICAO's aircraft noise standards and we have been working with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department CAD for several years on noise mitigation.

Our Progress So Far

To learn more about our progress in managing noise, please read our annual Sustainable Development Reports.

For Further Reading...